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Gratitude for Small and Large Favors: A Behavioral Test

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The effect of large and small favors on gratitude was tested using a behavioral measure. Participants were 149 undergraduates (120 female, 29 male). Half received raffle tickets for a US$100 prize, and half received tickets for a US$10 prize. Some received tickets from another (fictitious) student, and others received tickets by chance. Participants receiving a favor subsequently distributed more tickets to the other student; participants receiving a more valuable favor also distributed more (ps < 0.05). Self-reported grateful motivation predicted distribution better than did indebtedness. Grateful motivation mediated the relationship between favor and distribution (p < 0.05). Results provide validity for a behavioral measure of gratitude, tentatively support favor value as a determinant of gratitude, and further differentiate between gratitude and indebtedness.
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The Journal of Positive Psychology, July 2007; 2(3): 157–167
Gratitude for small and large favors: A behavioral test
JO-ANN TSANG
Baylor University, Waco, TX, USA
Abstract
The effect of large and small favors on gratitude was tested using a behavioral measure. Participants were 149
undergraduates (120 female, 29 male). Half received raffle tickets for a US$100 prize, and half received tickets for a US$10
prize. Some received tickets from another (fictitious) student, and others received tickets by chance. Participants receiving a
favor subsequently distributed more tickets to the other student; participants receiving a more valuable favor also distributed
more (ps50.05). Self-reported grateful motivation predicted distribution better than did indebtedness. Grateful motivation
mediated the relationship between favor and distribution (p50.05). Results provide validity for a behavioral measure of
gratitude, tentatively support favor value as a determinant of gratitude, and further differentiate between gratitude and
indebtedness.
Keywords: Gratitude, indebtedness, value, behavioral measure
Introduction
Positive psychology aspires to shift the field’s typical
focus on pathology toward strengths and virtues that
enhance life (Linley, Joseph, Harrington, & Wood,
2006; Seligman, 2002; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi,
2000). Gratitude is an integral component to positive
psychology, as it has long been considered an
important virtue and a component of ‘‘the good
life’’ (Emmons, 2004; Peterson & Seligman, 2004).
For example, Cicero claimed that ‘‘gratitude is not
only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the
others’’ (Pro Plancio). Seneca asked ‘‘What is so
praiseworthy, upon what are all our minds so
uniformly agreed, as the repayment of good services
with gratitude?’’ (De Beneficiis, Book IV, Chapter
XV, Line 3). The sociologist Georg Simmel referred
to gratitude as ‘‘the moral memory of mankind’’
(1950, p. 388). Many world religions also teach the
importance of gratitude (Emmons & Crumpler,
2000). Although not all great thinkers have consid-
ered gratitude a virtue (see Roberts, 2004), it is
generally accepted that expressing gratitude brings
great happiness (Gallup, 1998).
Psychological theory and research have under-
scored the relationship between gratitude and human
flourishing. Experiencing gratitude has been found to
increase psychological (Kashdan, Uswatte, & Julian,
2006; McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002;
Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004; Seligman,
Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005; Watkins, 2004) and
physical well-being (Bono & McCullough, 2006;
Emmons & McCullough, 2003). Gratitude may also
affect causal attributions ( Jackson, Lewandowski,
Fleury, & Chin, 2001) and increase general positive
emotion (Emmons & Crumpler, 2000; Emmons &
McCullough, 2003). Likewise, gratitude may
strengthen social bonds in relationships and even
communities (Fredrickson, 2004). Although
research on gratitude has been increasing
(Emmons, 2004), many studies of the determinants
of gratitude utilize scenario and self-report metho-
dology, which introduce limitations of social desir-
ability and low psychological realism. The use of
behavioral measures of gratitude can address these
limitations. The current study utilizes a behavioral
measure of gratitude to compare the effects of large
and small favors, or favor value, on gratitude and
prosocial behavior.
Value as a determinant of gratitude
Gratitude is a positive emotion that is experienced
when an individual perceives that someone has
intentionally given them a valued benefit. Because
it is primarily an interpersonal emotion, gratitude
is felt toward others and not toward oneself
Correspondence: Jo-Ann Tsang, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, One Bear Place #97334, Baylor University,
Waco, TX 76798-7334, USA. Tel: 254 710 2259. Fax: 254 710 3033. E-mail: JoAnn_Tsang@Baylor.edu
ISSN 1743-9760 print/ISSN 1743-9779 online ß2007 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/17439760701229019
(e.g., Ellsworth & Smith, 1988; Emmons &
Crumpler, 2000; Peterson & Seligman, 2004;
Weiner, Russell, & Lerman, 1978, 1979).
McCullough and colleagues posited that gratitude
serves as a moral barometer that informs individuals of
the receipt of a positive outcome caused by another
person (McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, &
Larson, 2001; McCullough & Tsang, 2004). More
specifically, the moral barometer hypothesis predicts
that gratitude tells the recipient that he or she has
received an outcome that is (1) valued by the
recipient, (2) costly to the benefactor, (3) given with
benevolent intentions, and (4) given gratuitously
(rather than from role-based obligation).
The hypothesis regarding value is particularly
intuitive: People should feel more gratitude for
larger favors (Berger, 1975; McCullough et al.,
2001; Roberts, 2004). For example, an individual
would feel some gratitude if her friend gave her
US$10, but she should feel more grateful if she were
given US$100. Ortony, Clore, and Collins (1988)
posited that gratitude was a compound emotion that
arose from the admiration of a praiseworthy action
(intention) and the joy experienced when that action
is desirable (or valuable) to the self. Therefore, they
predicted that the desirability or value of the benefit
was one factor that should increase gratitude
intensity. They further noted that it is the potential
value of the benefit, and not the actual value, that
affects the intensity of gratitude, making it possible
for people to feel grateful to a benefactor who
attempts to bring about a desirable outcome but is
unsuccessful.
Empirical support for the effect of favor value. Studies
exploring the role of favor value in gratitude have
employed scenario and self-report methodology.
Tesser, Gatewood, and Driver (1968) presented
participants with scenarios in which a benefactor
caused a positive outcome for a recipient. They
systematically varied levels of intention, cost, and
value across the scenarios. Participants were asked to
imagine themselves in these scenarios and rate how
grateful they would feel. Tesser et al. found that
perceived intention, cost, and value had linear effects
on perceptions of gratitude. Similarly, Lane and
Anderson (1976) presented participants with vign-
ettes that varied favor value and benefactor intention,
and asked participants to rate the gratitude they
would feel in each scenario. They found that
information about intention and value were averaged
to determine the level of gratitude, with higher levels
of intentionality and value leading to greater antici-
pated gratitude. Naito, Wangwan, and Tani (2005)
found that value ratings of scenario favors were
positively related to self-reported gratitude in both
Japanese and Thai participants.
The need for behavioral studies of value
and gratitude
Although previous research has supported the role of
favor value in gratitude, the exclusive use of scenario
and self-report methodology introduces important
limitations (Tsang, 2006b). Gratitude scenarios do
not necessarily induce grateful emotions (e.g.,
Graham, 1988; Weiner et al., 1978). Furthermore,
it is possible that scenario study participants respond
by describing their personal theories of gratitude
(Weiner et al., 1979) rather than reporting on actual
grateful emotions, and people’s theories about their
mental processes are not always accurate (e.g.,
Nisbett & Wilson, 1977). Scenario research is
potentially low in psychological realism and tends
to elicit low cost responses (Hegtvedt, 1990).
Scenarios can also be transparent and, because
gratitude is a socially desirable emotion, individuals
might over-report their experience of gratitude
(Lazarus, 2006). In contrast, non-self report mea-
sures such as behavioral assessments tend to be more
covert so that participants are less likely to guess the
investigator’s primary interest (e.g., Snyder, Kleck,
Strenta, & Mentzer, 1979), and they can elicit more
valuable responses (e.g., Silverman, 1974).
Behavioral measures also have the potential to
increase psychological realism and induce actual
grateful emotion in participants. Therefore, although
scenario research in gratitude has provided a valuable
starting point, it is important to test determinants of
gratitude such as favor value using behavioral
measures of gratitude.
The present experiment used a laboratory induc-
tion of gratitude to test the role of favor value in
gratitude. Previous research using this methodology
has supported its psychological realism and its ability
to induce grateful motivation, as well as its ability to
distinguish between helping motivated by gratitude
and helping motivated by general positive affect
(Tsang, 2006b). In the present experiment, gratitude
was differentiated from positive affect by pairing a
condition in which participants received a favor from
another participant with a control condition in which
participants received an identical positive outcome
caused ‘‘by chance.’’ It was predicted that partici-
pants who believed that they received a favor would
demonstrate more gratitude in the form of prosocial
behavior toward the other participant, compared
with those who believed that they received the same
positive outcome by chance. Additionally, it was
predicted that participants receiving a higher value
favor would demonstrate more prosocial behavior
compared to participants receiving a lower value
favor. Lastly, it was predicted that prosocial behavior
in this paradigm would be motivated primarily by
158 J.-A. Tsang
gratitude rather than related constructs such as
indebtedness and the norm of reciprocity.
Method
Participants
Participants were 149 undergraduate psychology
students at Baylor University (120 female, 29 male)
who received partial course credit for their assistance.
A greater number of female than male participants
were recruited because five of the seven
experimenters were female, and the gender of the
participant was matched to the experimenter to
minimize cross-gender self-presentation concerns
( Jones & Pittman, 1982). Fifteen additional partici-
pants (9.1%; 10 women and 5 men) were excluded
from analyses due to suspicion. Participants were
deemed to be suspicious if they stated during the
postexperimental interview that they did not believe
in the existence of the other participant, they did not
believe that the resources in Round 2 came from the
other participant, or if they expressed other doubts
about the truth of the cover story that would affect
their responses. Six of these suspicious participants
were in the Chance/Low Value condition, five were
in the Favor/Low Value condition, three were in the
Favor/High Value condition, and one was in the
Chance/High Value condition.
Procedure
Participants were run singly in an enclosed labora-
tory cubicle. They were given an introduction form
that explained that they and another participant
would engage in four rounds of resource distribu-
tions. Participants would not directly interact with
each other, but would receive the opportunity to
communicate by notes during certain distribution
rounds. In reality, there were only three distribution
rounds, and the ‘‘other participant’’ was fictitious.
Participants were further told that during each round
10 raffle tickets would be distributed between
themselves and the other participant. The raffle
prize would be a gift certificate worth either US$10
or US$100, and the prize amount would vary
randomly for each round. In some rounds, they or
the other participant would be assigned to distribute
resources, whereas in other rounds resources would
be distributed by chance. It was emphasized to
participants that they and their distribution partner
would be entered in separate raffles; therefore, they
were not in direct competition. Participants were also
told that there were several raffles, and only
participants in the study would be eligible for these
raffles, so anyone who ended up with a number of
tickets had a good chance of winning a gift certificate.
All distribution decisions were made using paper-
and-pencil forms, which the experimenter ostensibly
shuttled between cubicles. Resources for each
round took the form of 10 blue raffle tickets, which
would be entered into raffles at the end of the
experiment.
For Round 1, all participants received three tickets
for a US$10 raffle by chance, and were told that their
partner was given seven tickets for a US$10 raffle.
To emphasize the amount of the raffle, each ticket
had ‘‘$10’’ written in black marker on one side.
Participants were then randomly assigned into one of
two value conditions. Participants in the Low Value
condition were told that raffle tickets for Round 2
would again be for a US$10 gift certificate. Tickets
for Round 2 in this condition had ‘‘$10’’ written on
one side. Participants in the High Value condition
were told that raffle tickets for Round 2 would be for
a US$100 gift certificate. Tickets for Round 2 in this
condition had ‘‘$100’’ written on one side.
Participants were further assigned to Favor and
Chance conditions. Participants assigned to the
Favor condition were told that in Round 2 their
partner had given them nine tickets, while keeping
only one ticket. A handwritten note, seemingly from
the partner, accompanied the distribution outcome
and read, ‘‘I saw that you didn’t get a lot in the last
round—that must’ve been a bummer.’’ This note
served to communicate benevolent intention on the
part of the other participant. In contrast, participants
in the Chance control group were told that they
received nine tickets by chance, and that their partner
had received one ticket. There was no note from the
other participant in this condition.
In Round 3, participants in all conditions received
the opportunity to distribute 10 raffle tickets for a
US$10 gift certificate. After they made their dis-
tribution decision, participants were given a ques-
tionnaire that contained manipulation-check items,
along with items that asked them the reasons behind
their decision. Participants were asked to rate the
extent to which they were motivated by the following
concerns: to get money,be fair,help the other
participant,express appreciation,establish justice,fulfill
an obligation,reciprocate a favor and act morally.
Participants rated these motivations on a 7-item
Likert-type scale (1 ¼Not at all, 7 ¼Totally). The
item express appreciation constituted a measure of
gratitude, the item reciprocate a favor a measure of the
norm of reciprocity, and the item fulfill an obligation
a measure of indebtedness. In addition, after each of
the rounds the experimenter gave participants a
questionnaire asking them to rate the emotions they
were currently experiencing toward their partner on a
7-point scale, including the adjectives pleased,grate-
ful,indebted,happy,resentful,thankful,annoyed,
appreciative,obligated,upset,sympathetic, and angry.
Favor value and gratitude 159
A composite measure of grateful emotion was
created by combining the adjectives grateful,thankful,
and appreciative reported after Round 2 (¼0.98),
and a composite measure of indebted emotion was
created by combining the adjectives indebted and
obligated reported after Round 2 (¼0.85).
After the questionnaires were completed, the
experiment was terminated. During the postexperi-
mental interview, participants were carefully probed
for suspicion, and the experimenter fully explained
the experimental procedure to participants, including
the reasons for deception, using guidelines from
Aronson, Ellsworth, Carlsmith, and Gonzales
(1990). No participant expressed any distress about
the experiment, and all seemed to understand the
reasons for deception. All participants were given
30 entries into a US$100 raffle for their assistance
(i.e., the largest amount participants could have won
in the High Value condition). A raffle was held at the
end of each semester in which the study was
conducted, and two winners were awarded US$100.
To summarize, this study attempted to test the
effect of favor value on gratitude by using a
laboratory induction and behavioral measure of
gratitude. Participants were led to believe that they
were distributing resources with another student.
In the second round, participants were told that the
raffle tickets being distributed were for either a
US$10 or US$100 prize. Some participants received
nine of these raffle tickets from the ‘‘other partici-
pant’’, whereas other participants received nine raffle
tickets through ‘‘chance.’’ All participants were then
given the opportunity to distribute 10 raffle tickets
for a US$10 raffle on the third round. The behavioral
measure of gratitude consisted of the number of
raffle tickets given to the other participant on the
third round. Self-report measures of gratitude
included ratings of grateful emotion after the
second round and self-reported motivations for the
distribution of raffle tickets.
Results
Manipulation checks
Manipulation checks indicated that all participants
were aware of whether their positive outcome in
Round 2 was due to the other participant or to
chance, and all participants were aware of whether
the tickets for Round 2 were for a US$10 or US$100
gift certificate. To investigate the psychological
realism of this laboratory situation, ratings of the
emotion adjectives pleased and annoyed were com-
pared at different points in the study. Paired t-tests
revealed that participants felt significantly more
pleased toward their partner after Round 2
(M¼4.39, SD ¼2.44), when they received 9 tickets,
than after Round 1 (M¼2.00, SD ¼1.52), when
they received 3 tickets, t(147) ¼11.36, p50.001
(significance tests are two-tailed unless otherwise
indicated). Likewise, participants felt significantly
less annoyed toward their partner after Round 2
(M¼1.06, SD ¼0.29) than after Round 1
(M¼2.06, SD ¼1.48), t(145) ¼8.29, p50.001.
These results support the psychological realism of
the current methodology.
The composite measure of grateful emotion
reported after Round 2 was examined as an
additional manipulation check. Participants in the
Favor condition felt significantly more grateful
toward their partner after receiving raffle tickets
from their partner in Round 2 (M¼6.47,
SD ¼1.19), compared to participants in the
Chance condition who received the same number
of raffle tickets by chance (M¼2.09, SD ¼1.70),
t(132.56) ¼18.15, p50.001. The favor manipula-
tion appeared to have successfully induced gratitude.
Resource distribution
Table I contains descriptive statistics and Table II
correlations between key study variables. It was
predicted that grateful individuals would act more
prosocially toward their benefactor than would
individuals who were simply in a positive mood,
and that this behavioral manifestation of gratitude
would be higher in response to favors of higher value.
Specifically, participants who received a favor from
another participant should distribute more raffle
tickets compared to participants who receive a similar
positive outcome by chance, and participants who
had previously received high-value US$100 raffle
tickets should distribute more tickets compared to
participants who had received lower-value US$10
tickets. Results supported these predictions. A two-
way analysis of variance with favor and value as
independent variables revealed that participants in
the Favor condition gave more raffle tickets to their
partner (M¼7.34, SD ¼1.88, N¼73) compared to
participants in the Chance condition (M¼5.09,
SD ¼1.83, N¼76), F(1, 145) ¼56.84, p50.001.
Participants who had received US$100 raffle tickets
also distributed more tickets (M¼6.48, SD ¼2.48,
N¼75) compared to participants who received
US$10 raffle tickets (M¼5.91, SD ¼1.76, N¼74),
F(1, 145) ¼4.40, p50.05. The interaction between
the two conditions did not reach significance,
F¼2.25, p¼0.14. The behavioral measure of
gratitude was affected both by the receipt of a
favor, and by the value of the favor given. A separate
ANOVA that included gender as an additional
variable revealed a significant Value Gender inter-
action, F(1, 141) ¼4.69, p50.05. Women gave a
160 J.-A. Tsang
more similar number of tickets to their partner in the
Low Value (M¼6.02, SD ¼1.64, n¼61) compared
to the High Value (M¼6.27, SD ¼2.44, n¼59)
condition, whereas men gave fewer tickets in the Low
Value (M¼5.38, SD ¼2.26, n¼13) compared to
the High Value (M¼7.25, SD ¼2.57, n¼16)
condition. Men appeared to be more sensitive to
the value manipulation than were women; because
there were much fewer men than women in the
study, however, it is difficult to draw firm conclu-
sions from these gender differences.
Emotion
Did the resource distribution situation elicit primar-
ily gratitude or indebtedness? A 2 (favor vs.
chance) 2 (high vs. low value) 2 (grateful vs.
indebted emotion) mixed ANOVA revealed a main
effect of emotion, F(1, 140) ¼86.40, p50.001.
Participants felt significantly more grateful
(M¼4.24, SD ¼2.64) than indebted (M¼2.91,
SD ¼2.08) toward their partner after the second
round. This effect was qualified by a significant
Favor by Emotion interaction, F(1, 140) ¼33.44,
p50.001. Participants in the Favor condition felt
especially more gratitude (M¼6.47, SD ¼1.89)
than indebtedness (M¼4.31, SD ¼1.97), whereas
in the Chance condition the values for gratitude
(M¼2.09, SD ¼1.70) and indebtedness (M¼1.59,
SD ¼1.09) were more similar. A three-way interac-
tion between Gender, Favor, and Value conditions
also appeared, F(1, 136) ¼4.32, p50.05. Men
appeared to report higher levels of gratitude and
indebtedness in the Chance/US$100 condition
(M
grat
¼3.17, SD ¼2.00; M
indebt
¼2.25,
SD ¼1.44) compared to women in that condition
(M
grat
¼1.79, SD ¼1.61; M
indebt
¼1.50, SD ¼0.85)
Table I. Means and standard deviations for key study variables by condition.
All conditions Chance/US$10 Chance/US$100 Favor/US$10 Favor/US$100
Variable Mean SD nMean SD nMean SD nMean SD nMean SD n
Tickets distributed 6.20 2.17 148 5.00 1.51 37 5.18 2.14 38 6.81 1.53 37 7.89 2.07 36
Emotions toward other
at Round 2
Gratitude 4.24 2.64 147 2.11 1.66 37 2.08 1.76 38 6.44 1.30 36 6.49 1.07 36
Indebtedness 2.91 2.08 147 1.53 1.17 37 1.66 1.03 38 4.22 1.91 36 4.41 2.05 34
Distribution motivations
Get money 3.32 1.69 146 4.03 1.63 36 3.31 1.73 39 3.03 1.36 36 2.89 1.83 35
Be fair 6.12 1.41 147 5.81 1.51 37 5.77 1.55 39 6.44 1.18 36 6.51 1.22 35
Help the other 4.86 1.72 147 4.59 1.62 37 3.97 1.74 39 5.44 1.46 36 5.51 1.60 35
Appreciation 4.14 2.42 147 2.24 1.62 37 2.54 1.89 39 6.14 1.52 36 5.89 1.35 35
Establish justice 4.12 2.17 147 3.92 1.96 37 4.10 2.04 39 4.31 2.36 36 4.17 2.40 35
Fulfill obligation 3.18 1.85 147 2.57 1.71 37 2.69 1.63 39 3.92 1.96 36 3.63 1.82 35
Reciprocate a favor 3.46 2.75 147 2.19 3.40 37 1.69 1.54 39 5.06 1.80 36 5.14 1.83 35
Act morally 5.22 1.68 147 5.38 1.67 37 4.77 1.90 39 5.25 1.56 36 5.54 1.48 35
Table II. Correlations between key study variables.
Variable 1 2 345678910111213
1. Favor condition
2. Value condition
3. Tickets given 0.52*** 0.13
4. Grateful R2 0.83*** 0.00 0.49***
5. Indebted R2 0.64*** 0.01 0.41*** 0.71***
6. Get money 0.21* 0.13 0.53*** 0.16 0.14
7. Be fair 0.25** 0.00 0.46*** 0.30*** 0.25** 0.35***
8. Help other 0.35*** 0.09 0.59*** 0.41*** 0.44*** 0.32*** 0.51***
9. Appreciation 0.75*** 0.01 0.56*** 0.83*** 0.64*** 0.23** 0.36*** 0.54***
10. Justice 0.05 0.01 0.18* 0.08 0.06 0.19* 0.40*** 0.29*** 0.18*
11. Obligation 0.31*** 0.03 0.29*** 0.39*** 0.50*** 0.05 0.23** 0.33*** 0.42*** 0.33***
12. Reciprocate 0.58*** 0.05 0.27** 0.62*** 0.57*** 0.03 0.21* 0.30*** 0.61*** 0.11 0.44***
13. Act morally 0.10 0.05 0.29*** 0.20* 0.20* 0.20 0.51*** 0.42*** 0.24** 0.27** 0.23** 0.19*
14. Gender 0.04 0.05 0.05 0.03 0.03 0.00 0.17* 0.16 0.02 0.15 0.05 0.11 0.24**
Note: R2¼Round 2. For the variable Gender, 1 ¼female, 2 ¼male. *p50.05; **p50.01; ***p50.001.
Favor value and gratitude 161
and participants in the Chance/US$10 condition
(males: M
grat
¼2.48, SD ¼1.50; M
indebt
¼1.79,
SD ¼0.86; females: M
grat
¼2.02, SD ¼1.70;
M
indebt
¼1.47, SD ¼1.23). Men reported less grati-
tude and indebtedness in the Favor/US$100 condi-
tion (M
grat
¼6.19, SD ¼0.88; M
indebt
¼3.29,
SD ¼2.32) compared to women in that condition
(M
grat
¼6.56, SD ¼1.12; M
indebt
¼4.70, SD ¼1.91)
and participants in the Favor/US$10 condition
(males: M
grat
¼6.60, SD ¼0.43; M
indebt
¼5.17,
SD ¼1.33; females: M
grat
¼6.42, SD ¼1.40;
M
indebt
¼4.03, SD ¼1.97). No other interactions
were significant. It seems that the favor manipulation
was especially good at eliciting gratitude, rather than
indebtedness.
Did levels of gratitude and indebtedness show
similar patterns over time between the receipt of a
favor and the reciprocation of that favor? Recall that
participants received a positive outcome either as a
favor or by chance in the second round, and were
then given an opportunity to distribute raffle tickets
to their partner in the third round. Emotion ratings
were provided after each round. A 2 (favor vs.
chance) 2 (high vs. low value) 2 (grateful vs.
indebted emotion) 2 (Round 2 vs. Round 3) mixed
ANOVA revealed that gratitude and indebtedness
ratings significantly decreased from Round 2 to
Round 3, F(1, 138) ¼79.20, p50.001, and a
significant Time by Favor interaction revealed that
this effect was particularly prominent in the Favor
condition, F(1, 138) ¼73.64, p50.001. In addition,
a significant Emotion by Time interaction showed
that gratitude (M
diff
¼1.13) decreased significantly
more between the two rounds than did indebtedness
(M
diff
¼0.42), F(1, 138) ¼13.71, p50.001. A mar-
ginally significant Emotion by Time by Favor
interaction also suggested that this change was
more prominent in the Favor (M
gratdiff
¼1.83,
M
indebtdiff
¼1.38) compared to the Chance condition
(M
gratdiff
¼0.44, M
indebtdiff
¼0.47), F(1, 138) ¼
3.21, p50.08. No gender differences were found
in these analyses. Although suggestive, it is unclear
if these time effects were due to psychological
differences in the way gratitude and indebtedness
were experienced, or if they were driven primarily by
regression to the mean.
Emotions and resource distribution
Did feelings of gratitude and indebtedness influence
participants’ distribution decisions? Grateful and
indebted emotions appeared to be strongly related
both to the Favor manipulation, and to the number
of raffle tickets distributed to the other participant,
although they did not appear to mediate this
relationship. As noted on Table II, both gratitude
and indebtedness measured after Round 2 were
significantly correlated with Favor condition, as well
as the number of raffle tickets distributed to the other
participant. These emotions were not, however,
significantly correlated with Value condition.
Gratitude and indebtedness reported after Round 2
were simultaneously regressed on the number of raffle
tickets given to the other participant, with both
condition variables in the equation (see Table III for
regression statistics). The Favor manipulation con-
tinued to have a significant effect (¼0.33, p50.05),
but the Value manipulation was only marginally
significant in this equation (¼0.13, p¼0.07).
Of the two composite emotion measures, gratitude
made a larger unique contribution (¼0.15) than did
indebtedness (¼0.08), but neither effect was
significant in this equation, R
2
¼0.29, F(4, 139) ¼
14.39, p50.01. Because these emotions did not have
a significant relationship to resource distribution in
this equation, mediational analyses were not per-
formed. There were no gender differences related to
these effects. In contrast, structure coefficients (i.e.,
bivariate r
yx
/R; see Courville & Thompson, 2001)
revealed that both the Favor manipulation (r
s
¼0.94)
and grateful emotion (r
s
¼0.89) were strong predic-
tors of raffle ticket distribution. Likewise, feelings of
indebtedness were a good predictor of ticket distribu-
tion (r
s
¼0.76), although the Value manipulation
was a much weaker predictor (r
s
¼0.23). The
standardized beta weights and regression structure
coefficients both seem to indicate that grateful
emotion was more strongly related to the raffle
tickets given by the participants, compared to the
emotion of indebtedness.
Motivations underlying resource
distribution decisions
Another way to test for the independent effects of
gratitude and related variables such as indebtedness
and the norm of reciprocity is to compare participant
ratings of their motivations for distributing resources.
Table I presents the mean ratings for self-reported
distribution motivations in the four conditions.
Grateful motivation was assessed using participant
ratings of the motivation to express appreciation,
Table III. Simultaneous regression analyses for emotion variables
predicting number of raffle tickets distributed.
Variable BSE B
Favor condition 1.43 0.56 0.33*
Value condition 0.56 0.31 0.13
þ
Gratitude 0.13 0.11 0.15
Indebtedness 0.08 0.11 0.08
þ
p50.10; *p50.05; **p50.01.
162 J.-A. Tsang
indebtedness motivation was measured by having
participants rate the degree to which they were
concerned to fulfill an obligation, and the norm of
reciprocity was assessed using participant ratings
of the motivation to reciprocate a favor. These three
motivations were simultaneously regressed on the
raffle ticket distribution with both Favor and Value
conditions in the equation (see Table IV for regres-
sion statistics). The Favor (¼0.30, p50.01)
and Value (¼0.14, p50.05) manipulations con-
tinued to have a significant effect on resource
distribution in this equation. Grateful motivation
(¼0.41, p50.001) and the norm of reciprocity
(¼0.20, p50.05) also had significant indepen-
dent effects on resource distribution, although the
direction for norm of reciprocity was opposite of
what would be predicted (Gouldner, 1960). The
relationship between indebted motivation and
resource distribution was not significant (¼0.11,
p¼0.13). Structure coefficients revealed that both the
Favor manipulation (r
s
¼0.85) and grateful
motivation (r
s
¼0.90) were the strongest predictors
of resource distribution. Indebtedness (r
s
¼0.46) and
the norm of reciprocity (r
s
¼0.43) were also good
predictors of resource distribution, and the Value
manipulation was a weaker predictor (r
s
¼0.23).
There were no gender differences related to these
effects.
A path analysis using the Mplus 2 statistical
software (Muthe
´n & Muthe
´n, 1998) was conducted
to investigate possible mediating effects of these
motivations on the relationship between favor, value,
and resource distribution. The model contained
direct paths from both Favor and Value conditions
to the motivations to express appreciation (grati-
tude), fulfill an obligation (indebtedness), and
reciprocate a favor (norm of reciprocity). There
were also direct paths from the two conditions to the
resource distribution, and from the three motivations
to the resource distribution. The model tested the
hypothesis that both the Favor and Value conditions
would have direct effects on resource distribution, as
well as effects mediated by gratitude, indebtedness,
and the norm of reciprocity (see Figure 1).
This model was not a particularly good fit of the
data, likely due to several nonsignificant
paths between the Value manipulation and the
motivations (
2
[3] ¼41.53, p50.001, CFI ¼0.87,
RMSEA ¼0.29). A Sobel test indicated that grateful
motivation partially mediated the effect of Favor
condition on resource distribution, z¼2.42,
p50.05. No other tests for mediation were sig-
nificant, ps40.16. The primary motivation under-
lying the reciprocation of raffle tickets in this
paradigm, then, seems to have been gratitude
Favor/chance
condition
High/low
value
condition
Express
appreciation
(gratitude)
Reciprocate a
favor (norm of
reciprocity)
Resource
distribution
Fulfill an
obligation
(indebtedness)
0.75*
0.00
0.31*
0.02
0.58*
0.04
0.30*
0.14*
0.40*
0.11
0.20*
Figure 1. Path model testing mediating effects of grateful, indebted, and norm of reciprocity motivations on the relationship between favor,
value, and resource distribution.
Table IV. Simultaneous regression analyses for grateful motiva-
tion, indebted motivation, and norm of reciprocity predicting
number of raffle tickets distributed.
Variable BSE B
Favor condition 1.32 0.45 0.30**
Value condition 0.62 0.29 0.14*
Distribution motivation
Express appreciation 0.37 0.10 0.41***
Reciprocate favor 0.16 0.07 0.20*
Fulfill obligation 0.13 0.09 0.11
*p50.05; **p50.01; ***p50.001.
Favor value and gratitude 163
rather than indebtedness or the norm of reciprocity,
and this grateful motivation partially mediated the
relationship between the Favor manipulation and
resource distribution.
A second path analysis was conducted to investi-
gate the relationship between grateful motivation,
grateful emotion, and resource distribution. The
model contained direct paths from both Favor and
Value conditions to grateful emotion, and a direct
path from grateful emotion to grateful motivation.
There were also direct paths from the two conditions
to resource distribution, and from grateful emotion
and motivation to resource distribution (see
Figure 2). This model was a better fit to the data,
(
2
[2] ¼5.32, p¼0.06, CFI ¼0.99, RMSEA ¼
0.11). A Sobel test indicated that grateful motivation
mediated the relationship between grateful emotions
and resource distribution, z¼3.93, p50.01.
Grateful emotion seemed to have an indirect effect
on resource distribution through its influence on
grateful motivation.
Discussion
The present study is the first to test the effect of favor
value on gratitude by inducing gratitude in a
laboratory setting. In addition, it is the first experi-
ment to test reactions to favor value with a behavioral
measure of gratitude. The behavioral measure in the
present study was more costly than self-reported
gratitude used in scenario studies: In order to show
gratitude to their partner, participants had to give up
raffle tickets that they believed would help them win
a US$10 gift certificate. Results provided mixed
support for the effects of value on gratitude.
Increases in favor value were significantly related to
increased prosocial behavior toward the benefactor,
but this effect paled in comparison to the effect of
merely receiving a favor from another person.
Additionally, the possibility of gender differences
calls into question the robustness of favor value’s
effect on prosocial behavior. Likewise, an increase
in favor value was not related to a corresponding
increase in self-reported gratitude. Although
previous studies have shown that individuals report
feeling more gratitude in response to larger hypothe-
tical favors (Lane & Anderson, 1976; Tesser et al.,
1968), when people actually receive a favor from
another person, the present data suggest that the
value of the favor may matter less; rather, ‘‘it’s the
thought that counts.’’
One methodological limitation in the current
experiment is the possibility of a ceiling effect for
Round 2 reports of grateful emotion in the Favor
conditions. Other research on gratitude has also
found ceiling effects with self-reported gratitude
(Watkins, Scheer, Ovnicek, & Kolts, 2006). In the
Favor conditions of the current study, the mean for
self-reported gratitude after Round 2 approached 6.5
on a 7-point scale. This may have left little room for
gratitude to increase when favor value increased from
US$10 to US$100, which may explain the null
relationship between favor value and self-reported
gratitude. Similarly, the strong relationship between
Favor condition and grateful emotion may have
prevented grateful emotion from mediating the
relationship between the Favor condition and pro-
social behavior (e.g., Hoyle & Robinson, 2004).
In contrast, the measure of grateful motivation was
measured less immediately after the receipt of a favor
Favor/chance
condition
High/low
value
condition
Grateful
motivation Resource
distribution
0.28*
0.15*
Grateful
emotion
0.08
0.83*
0.83* 0.43*
0.00
Figure 2. Path model testing relationship between favor, value, grateful emotion, grateful motivation, and resource distribution.
164 J.-A. Tsang
and showed less of a ceiling effect in the Favor
conditions. This may explain why grateful motivation
was a significant mediator between the Favor
condition and prosocial behavior, whereas grateful
emotion was not.
The results found with the favor/chance manipula-
tion mirror results presented by Tsang (2006b).
In the latter, participants were presented with
money rather than raffle tickets to distribute. The
similar results in the present study provide a less
costly means (raffle tickets rather than money) by
which to induce gratitude. The present study also
provided additional data by which to validate this
gratitude-induction methodology. Participants felt
more gratitude than indebtedness in this paradigm,
especially participants who believed they had received
a favor from another participant. Both self-reported
grateful emotion and grateful motivation seemed to
be better predictors of prosocial behavior than was
indebtedness, with stronger effects appearing for
grateful motivation. This particular methodology
seems to effectively induce gratitude, and demon-
strates the effect of gratitude independently of the
effects of positive emotion in response to a positive
outcome. It therefore may be useful for studying other
determinants of gratitude in a standardized laboratory
setting.
Differences between gratitude and indebtedness
Along with demonstrating the ability of favor value to
increase gratitude, the present study shed some light
on the differences between grateful and indebted
reactions to favors. Other research has demonstrated
that gratitude and indebtedness, though both poten-
tial reactions to the receipt of a benefit, are
qualitatively different emotions that may lead to
different behavioral reactions. For example, Naito
et al. (2005) found that gratitude and indebtedness
had different determinants and elicited different
reactions from participants, with gratitude being
related to more prosocial response tendencies.
Watkins et al. (2006) found that as reciprocity
expectations on the part of the benefactor increased,
feelings of gratitude decreased and feelings of
indebtedness increased. Gratitude but not indebted-
ness was positively associated with prosocial action
tendencies, whereas gratitude was negatively and
indebtedness was positively associated with antisocial
action tendencies. Tsang (2006a) found that
participants reported more gratitude when a bene-
factor had benevolent intentions for helping, rather
than ulterior motives. Ratings of indebtedness did
not vary by benefactor intention. In the current
study, grateful emotion and motivation also appeared
to have stronger relationships than indebtedness to
prosocial behavior in response to a well-intentioned
favor. These results corroborate past research in
demonstrating that gratitude and indebtedness are
related but separate emotions, and that gratitude is
especially good at facilitating prosocial reactions to
benevolent favors.
This study also found that gratitude decreased
more than did indebtedness after participants were
given the opportunity to reciprocate a favor, which
contradicts predictions made by Watkins et al.
(2006) that indebtedness should decrease after the
return of a favor but levels of gratitude should remain
high. Because the current study was not specifically
designed to test the effects of reciprocation on
subsequent gratitude and indebtedness, it is not
possible to determine if the present results were
representative of the differential effects of reciproca-
tion on these two emotions, or whether they were
due to statistical phenomena such as regression to
the mean. The present methodology seemed to elicit
more gratitude than indebtedness, and gratitude was
more strongly related to resource distribution than
was indebtedness. Future studies could present
participants with a situation that elicits comparable
levels of both indebtedness and gratitude to more
directly address this question.
Gratitude’s moral motive
The present study offers further support for
McCullough et al.’s (2001) conceptualization of the
moral functions of gratitude. McCullough et al.
posited that gratitude functions as a moral barometer
that informs individuals when they have received a
benefit from someone else, and that gratitude should
intensify when the value of that benefit increases.
McCullough et al. claimed that a second function of
gratitude was as a moral motive that encouraged
grateful recipients of prosocial actions to behave
prosocially themselves. Some self-report studies have
supported this moral motive hypothesis (Baron,
1984; Graham, 1988; Peterson & Stewart, 1996).
Other experiments have shown gratitude’s effective-
ness in increasing actual prosocial behaviors. Tsang
(2006b), using the current study’s favor manipula-
tion, found that participants experiencing a favor
gave their benefactor more money and reported more
gratitude compared to participants receiving a similar
positive outcome by chance. Barlett and DeSteno
(2006) also found evidence that gratitude can
increase helping both toward one’s benefactor as
well as toward an unrelated other. They found that
induced gratitude led participants to spend more
time filling out a cognitively taxing questionnaire for
a benefactor compared to conditions where amuse-
ment or no emotion were induced. This increase in
Favor value and gratitude 165
helping behavior appeared to be mediated by
gratitude. The present study provides additional
evidence that individuals will behave prosocially
toward those who have benefited them and, further-
more, that increasing the value of the benefit may
increase the level of prosocial behavior shown.
The present study utilized undergraduate students
as participants, and could therefore be limited in its
generalizability. Raffle tickets worth US$10 or
US$100 may be less valuable to non-college popula-
tions. Moreover, participants in this study received a
favor from someone they did not know; further
research is needed to ascertain if these effects
generalize to close relationships. Both female and
male participants were used in this study, but because
there were fewer men than women it is difficult to
interpret the gender difference found with favor value.
Additional research is needed to investigate if men are
indeed more sensitive to favor value than are women.
Future directions
Although empirical support for the motivational
nature of gratitude is increasing, the question
remains as to the exact nature of this grateful
motivation. Prosocial behavior, including that eli-
cited by gratitude, can be motivated by altruism as
well as egoism (e.g., Batson, 1991). Some psychol-
ogists have suggested that gratitude is an altruistic
emotion; that is, that the experience of gratitude
leads the individual to have the ultimate goal of
benefiting their benefactor in return (e.g.,
Baumgarten-Tramer, 1938; cf. Baumeister & Ilko,
1995). However, there are a number of egoistic
motivations related to self-interest that might also
drive the expression of gratitude. For example, an
individual who is attempting to increase their like-
ability may express gratitude as a form of ingratia-
tion; likewise an individual attempting to appear
moral might express gratitude as an exemplification
strategy (Jones & Pittman, 1982). Recipients of a
benefit might also intuitively know that the expres-
sion of gratitude is reinforcing to benefactors,
increasing the likelihood of future benefits
(McCullough et al., 2001). Therefore, self-oriented
motivations may at times underlie gratitude’s
‘‘moral’’ motive to engage in prosocial behavior
toward a benefactor or others. There is currently
little research about the motivations underlying
grateful behaviors, whether they are egoistic, altruis-
tic, or otherwise. Existing studies relevant to grati-
tude and prosocial motivation do not directly
measure gratitude (Baumeister & Ilko, 1995; Pruitt,
1968; Whatley, Webster, Smith, & Rhodes, 1999).
The present research methodology, which pairs
behavioral and self-report measures of gratitude,
could be useful in answering these motivational
questions.
Conclusions
Researchers are steadily uncovering the potential of
gratitude to elicit positive outcomes not only in
individuals (e.g., Emmons & McCullough, 2003;
McCraty & Childre, 2004), but also toward bene-
factors (Bartlett & DeSteno, 2006; Tsang, 2006b)
and fortunate bystanders (Bartlett & DeSteno,
2006). As gratitude is linked to more positive social
outcomes, it becomes increasingly important to
explore the determinants of gratitude and grateful
behavior. The inclusion of a behavioral component
will allow researchers to investigate not only what
people say about gratitude, but how they show their
gratitude as well.
Acknowledgements
The author expresses appreciation to Diana Castillo,
Aline Defreitas, Brandi DeLeon, Cara Johnston,
Shannon Kelley, Daniel Nguyen, and James Reeves
for data-collection assistance, and to Tamara Rowatt,
Wade Rowatt, Philip Watkins, and an anonymous
reviewer for providing helpful comments on an
earlier draft of this article. This research was
supported in part by a summer research sabbatical
provided by Baylor University.
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Favor value and gratitude 167
... Our investigation further demonstrates that feelings Both gratitude and reciprocity are involved in the giving of benefits. Gratitude is a feeling that motivates giving benefits out of a benevolent desire to be helpful (Tsang, 2007). In contrast, reciprocity is a normative expectation, giving rise to feelings of indebtedness, that involves an obligation to return benefits that one has received (Schwartz, 1967;Visser, 2008). ...
... In another lab-based behavioral experiment, Tsang (2007) showed that participants who received valuable raffle tickets as a favor from a confederate later donated more raffle tickets to the confederate than did participants who had received the raffle tickets by chance. Regression analysis revealed that both gratitude and indebtedness were strong predictors of the number of raffle tickets distributed, although the regression structure coefficients indicated that gratitude was more strongly related to the tickets distributed than was indebtedness. ...
... We assessed the emotions using Likert scales that did not include operational definitions of each construct. In adopting this method, we were following the identical approach employed not only in the other studies in the present investigation but also in much past research (e.g., Bartlett & DeSteno 2006;Peng et al., 2018;Tsang, 2007;Tsang & Martin, 2019). This strategy was ecologically advantageous in that our interest was in assessing how participants spontaneously apply these terms in everyday social support contexts. ...
Article
Full-text available
Past research on gratitude assumes that norms of reciprocity are incompatible with personal relationships as they are based on the rigid normative expectations characteristic of market-based exchange. Challenging this assumption, the present investigation demonstrates the importance of recognizing that norms of reciprocity take a less rigid and more tacit form in the case of personal relationships. Using a vignette-based experiment, Study 1 (N = 200) demonstrated that when expectations to reciprocate are framed in ways that reflect their normative character rather than are portrayed as based on self-interested individual expectations, this is associated with greater likelihood of helping, enhanced gratitude, and more positive personality impressions. In an online game, Study 2 (N = 108) showed that players reciprocate less money to their exchange partner in the presence as compared with the absence of self-interested individual expectations for return. Assessing real life helping among friends, Study 3 (N = 128) revealed that indebtedness is predictive of helping and that indebtedness and gratitude promote relationship closeness in contrasting ways.
... One study examined the influence of objective value on state gratitude. Tsang (2007) manipulated the objective value of raffle tickets in an experimental lab study. Participants who believed they received raffle tickets as an intentional favor either worth $10 or $100, objectively, showed no significant difference in self-reported state gratitude. ...
... undisclosed, i.e., Peng et al., 2018, Study 1), subjective value of the benefit was associated with higher state gratitude. While further examination on the role of objective value could be fruitful, Tsang's (2007) speculation about the null finding of objective value in her study indicated that the objective value of a favor may be less impactful than the fact that another person sought to provide a favor in the first place. That is, regardless of the objective value of the benefit, comparing low objective value to high objective value in Tsang's study may have obscured the fact that both conditions reflected higher (relative to the control condition) subjective value. ...
... Benefactor Intentions. Research shows that benefactors who appear volitional, unselfish, and unambiguously positive in their intentions to help the beneficiary elicit beneficiary state gratitude (Bartlett & Desteno, 2006;Halali et al., 2017;, Li et al., 2019Ouyang et al., 2018;Peng et al., 2018;Tesser et al., 1968;Tsang, 2006Tsang, , 2007Tsang, , 2021Tsang & Martin, 2019;Wood et al., 2008b). While some research experimentally manipulated intentionality along different dimensions, such as benevolent vs. utilitarian (e.g., Li et al., 2019) and favor (intentional) vs. chance (unintentional) (e.g., Tsang, 2006, Tsang & Martin, 2019, each examination supported a positive relationship between an intentional act of kindness and the beneficiary's state gratitude. ...
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Though gratitude research in organizational behavior (OB) is nascent, this emotion has a rich history in the social sciences. Research has shown gratitude to promote prosocial behaviors, encourage personal well-being, and foster interpersonal relationships. However, gratitude research has been siloed among these three outcomes of gratitude (moral, wellness, and relational). Similarly, past reviews of gratitude have focused on only one group of outcomes, one of its forms (trait, state, or expressed), or empirical findings without emphasis on the theoretical underpinnings. In contrast, this review recognizes that each type of gratitude, its functions, and outcomes are part of a single process model of gratitude. As such, in the current review we provide a comprehensive assessment of gratitude in the social sciences by distilling and organizing the literature per our process model of episodic gratitude. Then, we translate the insights for management scholars, highlighting possible differences and synergies between extant research and workplace gratitude thereby helping advance “gratitude science” in the workplace. In all, this review (a) examines definitions and operationalizations of gratitude and provides recommendations for organizational research; (b) proposes a process model of episodic workplace gratitude as a conceptual map to guide future OB research on gratitude; (c) reviews empirical gratitude research through the lens of our process model; and (d) discusses the current state of the literature, important differences for workplace gratitude, and future directions for organizational scholars.
... The model of impure altruism from Andreoni (1989) stipulates that people donate in part because of the ''warm glow'' feeling they experience. Other research has incorporated models of pure altruism (Harbaugh et al. 2007), income and peer effects (Drouvelis and Marx 2021), signaling (Glazer and Konrad 1996;Fehrler and Przepiorka 2013), social pressure and norms (Drouvelis et al. 2019;Andreoni et al. 2017;Krupka and Croson 2016), social information (Shang and Croson 2009), the donor's sense of gratitude (DeSteno et al. 2010;Tsang 2007), the existence and proximity of social connections (Van Dijk et al. 2002;Apicella et al. 2012;Goette et al. 2006), and their current or incidental emotional state (Gneezy et al. 2014;Kandrack and Lundberg 2014;Sollberger et al. 2016;Ibanez et al. 2017). It is this last factor that is the subject of our paper. ...
... tailwinds). It's possible that recall of a positive influence in one's life increases the salience of the tailwinds that might otherwise be overlooked thus driving more pro-social behavior (McCullough et al. 2001;Grant and Gino 2010;Walker et al. 2016;Bartlett and DeSteno 2006;Tsang 2007). In a similar fashion, the recall of someone or something that has benefited the respondent may increase the salience of their otherwise-overlooked social connections (though not changing the existence or proximity of the connections themselves) and this could drive the movement toward greater prosocial behavior (Van Dijk et al. 2002;Apicella et al. 2012;Goette et al. 2006). ...
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Many important social and political goals are at least partially funded by charitable donations (e.g. environmental, public health, and educational). Recently a number of laboratory experiments have shown that a potential donor’s incidental emotions—those felt at the time of the decision but unrelated to the decision itself—are important factors. We extend these findings by examining the effect of incidental emotions on charitable giving using a natural field experiment, where the potential donors are unaware of the intervention. In partnership with a pledge drive at a small national liberal arts college, we demonstrate that participants who were asked to recall a person or event that has benefited them since graduating, pledged larger amounts (an increase of 92%) compared to the control group, although the probability of making a pledge was statistically no different.
... However, does perceived interpersonal distance shape the feeling of gratitude and indebtedness? Factors influencing emotional responses of gratitude and indebtedness can include the value perceived by the recipient of the outcome of the favor (Tsang, 2007), the cost beard by the benefactor (McCullough and Tsang, 2004), and the nature of the helper's intentionality (Tsang, 2006;Watkins et al., 2006). However, perceived social proximity as an antecedent received little attention in indebtedness scholarship. ...
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Previous study suggests that gratitude intervention evokes indebtedness among people from an interdependent society. This study furtherly hypothesized that perceived social distance moderates the effect of gratitude intervention on felt indebtedness. A total of 275 adolescents were randomly assigned to three gratitude intervention conditions, namely, writing gratitude to significant others, the health of one’s own, or nothing. After completing the writing task, they rated their experienced emotions on ten dimensions, including gratitude and indebtedness. They also reported perceived social distance from surrounding people and other demographical information. Results indicated that participants in the condition of writing about gratitude to significant others felt indebted regardless of perceived social distance, while those in the condition of writing about gratitude to his/her own health and those in the control condition experienced lesser indebtedness as the perceived social distance with others becomes closer. Gratitude increases as perceived social connectedness increases across all conditions. Theoretical and practical implications were discussed.
... Researchers have different views on the influence of indebtedness on PB. Tsang (2007) believes that there is no significant relationship between indebtedness and repaying behavior. Some researchers believe that indebtedness may lead to a lower willingness to repay, which inhibits PB of an individual (Watkins et al., 2006). ...
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Filial piety is a concept originated from ancient China which contains norms of children’s feelings, attitudes, and behaviors toward their parents. The dual filial piety model (DFPM) differentiated two types of filial belief: reciprocal vs. authoritarian filial piety (RFP vs. AFP). Recent scholars suggest that the functions of filial piety may differ across cultures. This study examined the mediating effects of empathy, moral identity, gratitude, and sense of indebtedness in the relationship between filial piety and prosocial behavior (PB) and the moderating effects of nation. Questionnaires measuring filial piety, PB, moral identity, gratitude, and sense of indebtedness were administrated to Chinese and Indonesian participants. Moderated mediation modeling was conducted to analyze data. The results showed that empathy, moral identity, gratitude, and a sense of indebtedness have significant mediating effects in the association of filial piety and PB. And nation served as a moderator. (1) RFP could promote PB via enhanced empathy, moral identity, gratitude, and a sense of indebtedness, both among Chinese and Indonesian participants, while AFP did the same job only among Indonesian participants. (2) Among Chinese participants, AFP was not directly associated with PB, but was negatively associated with PB via reduced gratitude and a sense of indebtedness. (3) Nation (China vs. Indonesia) moderated the direct or indirect effect of RFP/AFP on PB, with RFP exerting stronger positive effects on outcome variables among Chinese (relative to Indonesian) participants and AFP exerting stronger positive effects on outcome variables among Indonesian (relative to Chinese) participants. These results showed that RFP can promote prosocial development by the cultivation of empathy, moral identity, gratitude, and a sense of indebtedness, regardless of whether the participants grew up in China or other cultural backgrounds. But the effect of AFP on PB was significantly conditioned by culture. This suggests that the function of RFP may be a cultural universal. However, the mechanisms that AFP influences PB can differ considerably across cultures. Findings of this study further indicate that filial piety beliefs may facilitate prosocial development in the ways conditioned by cultures.
... Minnettar bireylerin, diğer bireylere oranla olumlu yönde sosyal davranışlar göstermeye daha çok eğilimli olmaları; onların, diğer bireylere karşı daha bağışlayıcı, yardımsever, destekleyici ve empatik olmalarına neden olmaktadır. Minnettarlık eğilimi yüksek olan bireyler, kendilerine yönelik yapılan bir iyiliğe karşılık verme konusunda daha fazla istekli olmaktadırlar (Tsang, 2007). Bu bağlamda minnettarlıktan kaynaklanan nazik davranışların, sosyal bağların kurulmasına ve güçlenmesine yardımcı olacağı söylenebilir (Emmons ve McCullough, 2003). ...
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ÖZET: Bu araştırmanın temel amacı, beliren ve orta yetişkinlik döneminde bulunan bireylerin minnettarlık ile ilgili görüşlerinin belirlenmesi ve bu iki grubun görüşleri arasındaki benzerliklerin ve farklılıkların ortaya konulmasıdır. Araştırmada, nitel araştırma desenlerinden olgubilim yöntemi kullanılmıştır. Bu çalışma 2019-2020 yılları arasında Türkiye’nin değişik bölgelerinde yaşayan, farklı yaşlarda, mesleklerde ve öğrenim düzeylerinde yer alan; 20 beliren (18-25 yaş arası) ve 20 orta yetişkinlik (26-45 yaş arası) döneminde bulunan 40 katılımcı ile yürütülmüştür. Bu araştırmanın katılımcıları amaçlı örnekleme yöntemleri içerisinde yer alan tabakalı amaçsal örnekleme yöntemine göre seçilmiştir. Veriler araştırmacılar tarafından hazırlanan kişisel bilgi formu ve yarı yapılandırılmış görüşme formu aracılığıyla online olarak yapılan görüşmeler ile toplanmıştır. Verilerin analizinde içerik analizi yöntemi kullanılmıştır. Çalışmanın sonuçlarına göre beliren ve orta yetişkinlik döneminde bulunan bireylerin; minnettarlığın tanımı, minnettarlık hissedilen durumlar, minnettarlığın ifade edilmesi, minnettarlığın davranışsal ve duygusal karşılığı, sosyal yaşama katkısı ve önündeki engellere dair yaklaşımlarının büyük oranda benzer olduğu anlaşılmıştır. Ancak az da olsa bu iki grubun minnettarlığa bakış açılarının birbirlerinden ayrıldığı noktalar göze çarpmaktadır. Araştırmadan elde edilen bu bulgular, alanyazın ışığında tartışılmış ve sonuçlarla ilgili öneriler geliştirilmiştir. & ABSTRACT: The main purpose of the current study is to determine the opinions of individuals who are in their emerging and middle adulthood periods about thankfulness and to elicit the similarities and differences between the opinions of these two groups. The current study employed the phenomenological design, one of the qualitative research designs. The current study was conducted with the participation of 20 individuals who were in their emerging adulthood period (18-25 years old) and 20 individuals who were in their middle adulthood period (26-45 years old); thus, a total of 40 participants, in the years 2019 and 2020. The participants were of the different ages, professions and education levels and lived in different regions of Turkey. The participants of the current study were selected by using the stratified purposeful sampling method, one of the purposive sampling methods. The data were collected by using the personal information form prepared by the researchers and a semi-structured interview form administered online. In the analysis of the collected data, content analysis method was used. As a result of the analysis, it was concluded that the individuals who were in their emerging adulthood and middle adulthood periods have largely similar opinions about the definition of thankfulness, the situations where thankfulness is felt, expression of thankfulness, behavioural and emotional exhibition of thankfulness, its contribution to social life and obstacles to it. Yet, there are some points where the two groups of participants’ perceptions of thankfulness differ. These findings obtained in the current study were discussed in reference to the literature and suggestions were made in light of the findings.
... However, not all gifts can be pleasant. According to research conducted by Tsang (2007) sometimes a gift makes a person feel inferior and feel indebted to the giver so that the desire to fulfill it arises in order to restore his self-esteem. ...
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Challenges of education sector in Indonesia are complex. Literature on Indonesia education has shown these challenges relate to learners, educators, and administrators. We often see, in certain places such as remote areas, poor management of education system from the quality of to human resources. Consequently, this poor education quality led to student’s low motivation and eventually creating the image of education in Indonesia as appeared dreary. This article aims to discuss positive psychology to contextualize challenges of Indonesia’s education. I argue that positive psychology offers insights of overcoming education challenges that might lead to a more joyful educational process. The study is a literature-based research through critical and comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of education in Indonesia. This research emphasizes that positive psychology works have a very influential space to help achieving welfare of those involve in the education sector. The result offers few recommendations through finding new methods or models of learning that are pleasing that attempt to motivate students to apply positive psychology to improve their quality of life.
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Moral identity has been considered an important predictor of prosocial behavior. This article extends prior research by investigating how and when moral identity predicts helping behavior. Specifically, we examine the mediating effect of episodic autonomous motivation on the relationship between moral identity and future helping intentions. We also test the moderating effect of an important contextual factor in helping episodes: the quality of the gratitude expression received by helpers. In two studies using autobiographical recall tasks with different samples (Study 1: N = 134, college students; Study 2: N = 192, adult workers), we found convergent evidence that helpers with high moral identity experience higher autonomous motivation in a helping episode, which in turn increases their willingness to help the same beneficiary in the future. We further found support for the interactive effects between autonomous motivation and gratitude quality on future helping intentions. High-quality gratitude expressions are particularly important in predicting subsequent helping for helpers with low episodic autonomous motivation. In this case, high-quality gratitude expressions can compensate for the lack of intrinsic motivation in a helping episode and increase future help provision.
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Helping acts, however well intended and beneficial, sometimes involve immoral means or immoral helpers. Here, we explore whether help recipients consider moral evaluations in their appraisals of gratitude, a possibility that has been neglected by existing accounts of gratitude. Participants felt less grateful and more uneasy when offered immoral help (Study 1, N = 150), and when offered morally neutral help by an immoral helper (Study 2, N = 172). In response to immoral help or helpers, participants were less likely to accept the help and less willing to strengthen their relationship with the helper even when they accepted it. Study 3 ( N = 276) showed that recipients who felt grateful when offered immoral help were perceived as less likable, less moral, and less suitable as close relationship partners than those who felt uneasy by observers. Our results demonstrate that gratitude is morally sensitive and suggest this might be socially adaptive.
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The current study examined the nature of gratitude and future time perspective (FTP) during the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the effects of age and virus worry on the associations between gratitude and remaining opportunities and time. Data came from a survey of a representative sample of Swiss adults (N = 1,008; 18–90 years) assessed during the pandemic in 2020. Local structural equation modeling (LSEM) was used to investigate the effects of continuous age and virus worry on mean-levels and correlations. While gratitude was unaffected by age and worry, the remaining opportunities and time factors of FTP decreased across age and levels of worry. The associations between gratitude and the FTP factors were invariant across age and levels of worry. Additionally, using previous cross-sectional data, the study found that associations between gratitude and future time perspective were significantly smaller during the pandemic as compared to an assessment in 2018.
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The effect of a grateful outlook on psychological and physical well-being was examined. In Studies 1 and 2, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions (hassles, gratitude listing, and either neutral life events or social comparison); they then kept weekly (Study 1) or daily (Study 2) records of their moods, coping behaviors, health behaviors, physical symptoms, and overall life appraisals. In a 3rd study, persons with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either the gratitude condition or to a control condition. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the 3 studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
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In four studies, the authors examined the correlates of the disposition toward gratitude. Study 1 revealed that self-ratings and observer ratings of the grateful disposition are associated with positive affect and well-being prosocial behaviors and traits, and religiousness/spirituality. Study 2 replicated these findings in a large nonstudent sample. Study 3 yielded similar results to Studies 1 and 2 and provided evidence that gratitude is negatively associated with envy and materialistic attitudes. Study 4 yielded evidence that these associations persist after controlling for Extraversion/positive affectivity, Neuroticism/negative affectivity, and Agreeableness. The development of the Gratitude Questionnaire, a unidimensional measure with good psychometric properties, is also described.
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Conducted 2 experiments with a total of 64 undergraduates to demonstrate a general strategy for detecting motives that people wish to conceal. The strategy involves having people choose between 2 alternatives, one of which happens to satisfy the motive. By counterbalancing which one does so, it is possible to distill the motive by examining the pattern of choice that people make. The motive employed was the desire to avoid the physically handicapped. It was predicted that because most people would not wish to reveal this desire, they would be more likely to act on it if they could appear to be choosing on some other basis. Results show that Ss avoided the handicapped more often if the decision to do so was also a decision between 2 movies and avoidance of the handicapped could masquerade as a movie preference. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
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1. Introduction The study of emotion Types of evidence for theories of emotion Some goals for a cognitive theory of emotion 2. Structure of the theory The organisation of emotion types Basic emotions Some implications of the emotions-as-valenced-reactions claim 3. The cognitive psychology of appraisal The appraisal structure Central intensity variables 4. The intensity of emotions Global variables Local variables Variable-values, variable-weights, and emotion thresholds 5. Reactions to events: I. The well-being emotions Loss emotions and fine-grained analyses The fortunes-of-others emotions Self-pity and related states 6. Reactions to events: II. The prospect-based emotions Shock and pleasant surprise Some interrelationships between prospect-based emotions Suspense, resignation, hopelessness, and other related states 7. Reactions to agents The attribution emotions Gratitude, anger, and some other compound emotions 8. Reactions to objects The attraction emotions Fine-grained analyses and emotion sequences 9. The boundaries of the theory Emotion words and cross-cultural issues Emotion experiences and unconscious emotions Coping and the function of emotions Computational tractability.
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This introductory chapter explains the coverage of this book, which is about the psychological aspects of gratitude. It discusses the reasons behind the increased interest in gratitude. These include the focus of the positive psychology movement on human strength and virtues, renewed interest of social scientists in people's religious and spiritual lives and resurgent interest in virtue ethics, a subfield of moral philosophy. This book examines the prosocial contours of gratitude, its origin and its manifestations and development in modern life.